Library Technology Guides

Documents, Databases, News, and Commentary

Library Technology Guides provides comprehensive and objective information surrounding the many different types of technology products and services used by libraries. It covers the organizations that develop and support library-oriented software and systems. The site offers extensive databases and document repositories to assist libraries as they consider new systems and is an essential resource for professionals in the field to stay current with new developments and trends. Relevant news items are posted daily on Twitter:

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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Participate in the 2023 International Library Automation Perceptions Survey

Please respond to this year's International Library Automation Survey conducted through Library Technology Guides. The survey measures the levels of satisfaction that libraries have in their strategic technology products and their perceptions of the quality of service and support that they receive. The results of this survey provide valuable information to libraries as they formulate technology strategies and to vendors as they refine their support services and product development.

The report based on the 2020 survey, with links to previous reports is available:

2020 Library Automation Survey

I am now collecting responses for the 2023 edition of the survey. Please take this opportunity to register the perceptions of the library automation system used in your library, its vendor, and the quality of support delivered. The survey also probes at considerations for migrating to new systems, involvement in discovery products, and the level of interest in open source ILS. While the numeric rating scales support the statistical results of the study, the comments offered also provide interesting insights into the current state of library automation satisfaction.

This edition of the survey includes a new section on authentication services used by libraries for access to restricted resources. These services include EZproxy, OpenAthens, SeamlessAccess, and other products.

Note: If you have responded to previous editions of the survey, please give your responses again this year. By responding to the survey each year, you help identify long-term trends in the changing perceptions of these companies and products.

As with the previous versions of the survey, only one response per library is allowed and any individual can respond only for one library. These restrictions ensure that no single organization or individual can skew the statistics. While all the individuals that work in a library may have their own opinions, please respond to the extent that you can from the general experiences of your library.

How to participate

The survey links each response to the listing for a library in the libraries.org directory. This connection provides the ability to correlate responses with the extensive library demographic data in libraries.org.

  1. Find your library in libraries.org:
    Find your library:
    (hint: for public libraries, enter city or county)
  2. Select and view the listing for your library
  3. Press the button
  4. Complete the form and write in your comments!

When viewing the entry for your library in the libraries.org directory, please check for any incomplete or inaccurate information and let me know of any needed changes.

If your library isn't listed in libraries.org, please submit its information.


Oct 27, 2023 14:50:31
Link to Posting:

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Featured Content

Project Reshare and OpenRS: differing approaches to open source resource sharing

Project Reshare and OpenRS: differing approaches to open source resource sharing

In recent months, a schism has erupted in the open source resource sharing realm. Two open source resource sharing projects that previously resided within a single organization have separated, due not only to the differing functional models of their products, but also because of differences in styles of collaboration. Launched in 2018, Project ReShare has been advancing an open source platform for resource sharing, created collaboratively among a community of interested libraries and vendors. Project ReShare continues with its mission to strengthen its resource sharing community and to continue to enhance and support its platform. The organization is also refining its organizational structure and articulating its values and community processes. OpenRS, was launched in 2023 as a new initiative to develop, support, and promote a new open source direct consortial borrowing solution. Though a relatively new project, OpenRS moves forward with a well defined development agenda, backed by two commercial vendors, EBSCO Information Services and Knowledge Integration, with substantial involvement of MOBIUS as its first planned implementor.

(Library Technology Newsletter, December 2023)

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Library Perceptions 2023: Results of the sixteenth International Survey of Library Automation

Notable Observations
Interest continues to build for open source products, especially FOLIO and Koha. The migration intentions given by libraries using legacy products mention FOLIO more than other products. Libraries using Sierra seem especially interest in open source options, with 48 mentioning FOLIO as a consideration and 22 mentioning Koha. Open source products are a routine option for public and school libraries as well. Both Koha and Evergreen show increasing levels of satisfaction, though some support providers receive higher scores than others. OPALS used mostly in school and very small academic libraries, earns superlative scores.
About 6 percent of academic libraries signal interest in migrating to a new system, mostly from those remaining on legacy ILS products, but also from those that have been using a library service platform for a decade that are reviewing options. Academic libraries showed increasing interest in migrating from 2007 through 2014, with steadily declining interest since. The launch of Alma and WorldShare Management Services in 2011 sparked great interest, which peaked in 2015. After that year the percent of academic libraries considering migrating diminished as large portions of these libraries had moved to a library services platform and were well occupied in implementing and optimizing those new installations.
The satisfaction scores given to Alma are moderate, consistent with those given by large and complex libraries. Only a handful of libraries indicate interest in changing to another product. Of libraries considering migrating from legacy products, Alma continues to be listed as a migration candidate, though even more mentioned FOLIO this year. Alma receives higher marks for its functionality for the management of electronic resources than for print. Since academic libraries generally spend most of their collection budgets on electronic resources, weaker capabilities for managing print does not seem to detract substantially from the overall satisfaction levels for Alma.
Implementations of the FOLIO are underway and interest in new implementations continues to increase with 102 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates. Narrative comments suggested that many libraries avoid open source products due to a perception that they would need more staff with technical skills.
The portion of public libraries considering system replacement has declined steadily since the first year of the survey. The high interest among public libraries in migration during the early years of the survey was driven by the industry turmoil. Since about 2015, public library interest in migrations has steadily declined, possibly due to the lack of compelling alternatives. This year only 4 percent of public libraries expressed interest in changing systems. The proprietary and open source ILS products used by public libraries are mature and increasingly less differentiated.
Academic libraries showed increasing interest in migrating from 2007 through 2014, with steadily declining interest since. The launch of Alma and WorldShare Management Services in 2011 sparked great interest, which peaked in 2015. Academic libraries considering migrating diminished since most have moved to library services platforms. About 6 percent of academic libraries continue to show interest in migrating, mostly from those remaining on legacy ILS products and those that have been using a library service platform for a decade that are reviewing options. Both public and academic libraries stated less interest in changing systems in 2021, due to the disruptions of the pandemic.

No library management product can be expected to work well for all libraries. Public, academic, school, and special libraries each have distinctive characteristics relative to the types of material in their collections and in the services they provide. The type, size, and overall complexity are important factors when considering the technology products and services best suited for any given library. Accordingly this survey segments responses into categories determined by library type and collection size to assess each product within relevant peer groups. Each annual survey provides a snapshot of the perceived capabilities of each product, and uses results from previous years to identify trends regarding the satisfaction and performance of the products their vendors.

The satisfaction ratings and narrative comments gauge library reactions surrounding the broader events in the industry, such as consolidation, open source initiatives, and the decline of legacy products. Earlier years of the survey, for example, reflected the negative impact the private equity acquisitions on SirsiDynix and Innovative. More recently survey responses inferred that libraries reacted mostly positively to ProQuest acquiring Ex Libris and Innovative from their previous private equity owners. This year's survey results give early indications on whether library satisfaction of the products of Ex Libris and Innovative are different under the ownership of Clarivate.

Survey responses give a glimpse into ongoing migration trends. Academic libraries are shifting away from integrated library systems to library services platforms, with Ex Libris Alma leading the pack, followed by OCLC WorldShare Management Services. FOLIO has fully entered the competition, with survey results showing strong interest, though there are still too few implementations to gauge satisfaction. Public libraries show substantially different patterns, with lower levels of interest in migrating to new systems.

Several themes pervade all editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Presenting results without regard to size categories would give misleading impressions. Products designed for small libraries would not be successful among larger and more complex institutions, despite superlative ratings by the small libraries that use them.

In the current environment, the capabilities of the product and the quality of services from the vendor matter more than license models. Conventional integrated library systems prevail in public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also gave excellent marks to proprietary ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal notable patterns regarding library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are not rated as highly for managing print resources than legacy ILS products.

(Library Technology Guides, May 5, 2023)

Read the complete report...

Library Systems Report 2021: Advancing library technologies in challenging times

Library Systems Report 2021: Advancing library technologies in challenging times

In recent years, business acquisitions have brought high-stakes changes to the library technology industry, creating seismic shifts in the balance of power. But other events in 2022—primarily advances in open source software—have even bigger implications for the market. Although proprietary products continue to dominate, open source alternatives are becoming increasingly competitive.

Interest in open systems has been growing within the library world for at least 15 years, and recent procurements reflect important breakthroughs. The selection of the open source library services platform (LSP) FOLIO by Library of Congress (LC), the MOBIUS consortium, the National Library of Australia, and others has solidified FOLIO's position as a major competitor in the market. With 1,575 installations for Koha, ByWater Solutions has become one of the strongest competitors for mid-sized and large public libraries in the US. Public libraries are increasingly turning to Aspen Discovery for a replacement catalog interface.

(American Libraries, May 1, 2023)

Continue to complete article in American Libraries...

Follett Corporation History: the evolution and devolution of a family business

A detailed history of the Follett Corporation covering events from the antecedent businesses, though its expansion through the creation of multiple subsidiaries to address new areas of business, and its ultimate demise through the divestiture of its primary businesses. The underlying businesses continue under the ownership of new investment groups.

(Library Technology Newsletter, January 2023)

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Baker & Taylor services disrupted by ransomware attack

Baker & Taylor, a major distributor of books and other content to libraries experienced a ransomware attack on about August 22, 2022, disrupting its services, including the Title Source 360 ecommerce system that libraries use to place orders for material and the EDI services used for automated transactions with library systems. The Axis 360 ebook service was not impacted. The outage of Title Source 360 was restored on the morning of September 7, ending a 17-day outage.

(Library Technology Newsletter, August 2022)

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Discoverability of Library Collections

Discoverability of Library Collections

Libraries want their collections to be easily accessed by their communities. They provide catalogs or discovery services through their websites to enable efficient ways to search, request, or download materials. It's also important to enable convenient access to library materials to those that begin from Google or other popular web destinations. Multiple technologies and services help their patrons find and access items in a library's collection. Library catalogs have long been the primary tool for search and access of library collections, and continually strive to be more effective and easier to use. For most libraries, the online catalog provides comprehensive coverage of all items in the collection, including owned and licensed materials. Online catalogs have evolved to become easier to use and to address all aspects of library collections, including print, electronic, and digital materials. Libraries also benefit from additional pathways to their collections. The concept of discoverability considers other ways to access library materials other than the traditional catalogs and discovery services.

(Library Technology Newsletter, May 2022)

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OCLC sues Clarivate over MetaDoor and its use of WorldCat records

OCLC filed a lawsuit against Clarivate and its subsidiaries demanding that Ex Libris cease promoting MetaDoor in a way that causes its member libraries to violate policies and contracts related to records in WorldCat. The complaint, filed on June 13, 2022, claims that Ex Libris is prompting OCLC members to share collection data that includes WorldCat records to MetaDoor in a way that violates OCLC policies and the terms of subscription contracts. OCLC asserts that MetaDoor takes unfair advantage of its long history of building WorldCat as a near-comprehensive bibliographic database. Further, OCLC states that Ex Libris offering MetaDoor as a free service is an anticompetitive strategy that endangers its very existence. This article presents the basic statements related to the complaint without opinion or commentary.

(Library Technology Newsletter, Jun 2022)

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Disruption in the library bibliographic services arena

Disruption in the library bibliographic services arena

Bibliographic services represent a critical component of the library information ecosystem. Since the earlies phases of library automation, many vendors and organizations have developed processes to enable libraries to create records to describe items in their collections and to share them among peer institutions to avoid redundant efforts. OCLC's WorldCat and its Cataloging and Metadata Services represent the culmination of many of efforts into a global ecosystem for bibliographic records and authority control. Though OCLC ranks as the dominant provider, other services are available and new initiatives are underway. How libraries create and share the records that describe collection items has recently erupted into controversy. Two major industry giants are now pitted against each other in a legal dispute over accusations of anti-competitive business practices and on the extent to which bibliographic records can be shared among libraries.

(Library Technology Newsletter, June 2022)

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2022 Library Systems Report: An industry disrupted

2022 Library Systems Report: An industry disrupted

Events of the last year have reshaped the library technology industry. Previous rounds of acquisitions pale in comparison to the acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate, which has propelled the leading library technology provider into the broader commercial sector of scholarly communications. This deal signals that the gap in size among vendors is widening, as ProQuest businesses Ex Libris and Innovative Interfaces also join Clarivate. The emergence of such a large business at the top of the industry has accelerated consolidation among mid-level players that aim to increase scale and efficiency to remain competitive. This was a banner year for consolidation of midsize competitors, with more acquisitions than any prior year. These deals raise concerns about weakened competition, but they may also enable new industry dynamics that will spark innovation and synergy within the broader research and education landscape. Small companies with visions for innovation often lack the resources to deliver, which larger companies can provide. Increased investor and stockholder involvement, however, translates into pressure to maximize profits and growth. The way these competing dynamics play out has important implications for libraries.

(American Libraries, May 2022)

Continue to complete article in American Libraries...


Caveat and Credit

Library Technology Guides was created and is edited by Marshall Breeding. He is solely responsible for all content on this site, and for any errors it may contain. Please notify him if you find any errors or omissions.

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Industry News

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Full Automation News Report

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February 28, 2024. American Library Association's Libraries Transforming Communities Initiative receives additional $10 million in funding. The American Library Association announced that it has received $10 million in support of its Libraries Transforming Communities initiative to continue providing libraries with tools and resources to ... <<more>>

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February 28, 2024. Clarivate Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Results. Clarivate reported results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2023. ... <<more>>

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February 28, 2024. Bond University selects campusM App. Bond University recently selected campusM as its student engagement app. campusM joins other Ex Libris products at Bond, including Alma, Primo and Leganto, that facilitate better student experiences a ... <<more>>

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February 27, 2024. Cambridge University Press win UX Award 2024. OpenAthens announced Cambridge University Press as the winner of its UX Award 2024. Award organizer, Jane Charlton, declared Cambridge University Press the winner at OpenAthens' annual online Access L ... <<more>>

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